Jarett Anders supplied the extra-inning magic to support the pitching of Logan Tanner as George County took Game 1 of the South State 6A championship baseball series Thursday night.
Anders singled to center with one out in the top of the eighth inning as the Rebels won 2-1 at Herbert Wilson Field. The Rebels improved to 25-4 on the season.
Meanwhile, Tanner struck out 14 batters and limited Gulfport to six hits to keep the Admirals at bay.
“If there is any ball around the plate, you have to barrel up,’’ Anders said. “It’s your only chance.’’
Cameron Cotten reached on a one-out walk in the eighth by Admirals pitcher Blake Johnson. The courtesy runner for Cotten was balked to second and then Anders delivered.
Gulfport (25-5) visits George County on Friday night at 7 in Game 2 of the best-of-3 series.
George County jumped to a 1-0 lead in the fifth on a RBI single by Ethan Coleman, which followed a leadoff double by Cole Pugh. Pugh went 2-for-3 on the night.
Then the Rebels turned in a stellar defensive play to stop Gulfport’s momentum in the bottom of the fifth. Mason Campbell singled to right with one out. Rightfielder Trevor McDonald threw out Jerod Williams at the plate as Williams tried to score from second base. Then Pugh threw out Campbell at second as he tried to move up to complete the double play.
However, Gulfport kept coming. In the bottom of the seventh, Dylan Ladner led off with a single. He moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and throwing error from Tanner. Then Ladner tied the game on a wild pitch by Tanner.
“That was a great play,’’ Tanner said of the 9-2-6 double play in the fifth. “Trevor has a cannon for an arm. That fired me up.’’
“Logan Tanner is a junior, a Mississippi State commit and he has been doing it all year,’’ George County coach Brandon Davis said. “On the mound, he has done some extraordinary things. In the seventh, things kind of went off the rails. But then he came up and got two strikeouts.
“We had some great defensive plays. Hats off to Gulfport. They played hard and there is a reason they are the defending South State champs.
“Trevor McDonald, who will be starting for us (Friday night), we knew he had the arm. He made an exceptional throw (on the double play) to the plate. Our freshman catcher catches it and has the presence of mind to throw to second. That was a huge momentum boost for us. That was a great play by our defense.’’
Johnson, a Tulane signee, took the pitching loss for Gulfport. He worked 7 1/3 innings, giving up six hits while striking out seven.